Wilks-Wilkes Family Maternal Lines

Newman Family

Descendants of Johann Gerhardt Newman

 Many thanks to descendants who contributed descendant data, especially Melissa Creasy Mills of VA, and Madeleine Newman of TN.

We descend from Barbary Newman, daughter of Conrad Newman and Anna Margaretta Brubeck. Conrad Newman's father was Johann Gerhardt Newman.

Johann Gerhardt1 Newman (also known as Johann Gerhardt Nuimann or Johann Nieman) was born in 1723 at Palatine, Rhineland, Germany. Unfortunately, we do not know the name of his wife or his parents. He had two sons, Nimrod and Conrad. Their journey began 8 May 1749 and ended 7 Oct 1749 when they arrived aboard ship Leslie from Rotterdam to Cowes, England, to Philadelphia, Capt. J. Ballendine, "400 Persons from Palatinate, Manheim, Zweybreckt."

Children and married women were not on the passenger lists and the author of Pennsylvania German Pioneers states that on 22 ships to Philadelphia in 1749, the ratio of passengers to signers on the Captains' lists was approximately 5 to 2.

At the Court House at Philadelphia, the Foreigners whose Names are underwritten . . . in the Ship . . . from Rotterdam, but last from Cowes in England, did this day take the usual Oaths to the Government. By the list 121, 400 Persons from Palatinate, Manheim, Zweybrecht . . . JOHANN GERHARDT NIEMAN.

"Adam Browbak, Senior," the father of Anna Margaretta Brubeck, and "Adam Browbak, Junior," arrived at Philadelphia on ship Crown 7 Oct 1749 from Hoefelfingen, Baselland, Switzerland.

The lengthy and arduous journey has been described as follows:


The journey to Pennsylvania fell naturally into three parts. The first part, and by no means the easiest, was the journey down the Rhine to Rotterdam or some other port. Gottlieb Mittelberger in his Journey to Pennsylvania in the year 1750, wrote: (1)

"This journey lasts from the beginning of May to the end of October, fully half a year, amid such hardships as no one is able to describe adequately with their misery. The cause is because the Rhine boats from Heilbronn to Holland have to pass by 26 custom houses, at all of which the ships are examined, which is done when it suits the convenience of the custom-house officials. In the meantime, the ships with the people are detained long, so that the passengers have to spend much money. The trip down the Rhine lasts therefore four, five, and even six weeks. When the ships come to Holland, they are detained there likewise five to six weeks. Because things are very dear there, the poor people have to spend nearly all they have during that time."
The second stage of the journey was from Rotterdam to one of the English ports. Most of the ships called at Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. This was the favorite stopping place, as 142 ships are recorded as having sailed from Rotterdam to Cowes. . .

In England there was another delay of one to two weeks, when the ships were waiting either to be passed through the custom house or waiting for favorable winds. When the ships had for the last time weighed their anchors at Cowes or some other port in England, then, writes Mittelberger, "the real misery begins with the long voyage. For from there the ships, unless they have good wind, must often sail eight, nine, ten to twelve weeks before they reach Philadelphia. But even with the best wind the voyage lasts seven weeks."

The third stage of the journey, or the ocean voyage proper, was marked by much suffering and hardship. The passengers being packed densely, like herrings, as Mittelberger describes it, without proper food and water, were soon subject to all sorts of diseases, such as dysentery, scurvy, typhoid and smallpox. Children were the first to be attacked and died in large numbers. Mittelberger reports the deaths of 32 children on his ship. Of the heartless cruelty practised he gives the following example: "One day, just as we had a heavy gale, a woman in our ship, who was to give birth and could not under the circumstances of the storm, was pushed through the porthole and dropped into the sea, because she was far in the rear of the ship and could not be brought forward."

The terrors of disease, brought about to a large extent by poor food and lack of good drinking water, were much aggravated by frequent storms through which ships and passengers had to pass. "The misery reaches the climax when a gale rages for two or three nights and days, so that every one believes that the ship will go to the bottom with all human beings on board. In such a visitation the people cry and pray most piteously. When in such a gale the sea rages and surges, so that the waves rise often like mountains one above the other, and often tumble over the ship, so that one fears to go down with the ship; when the ship is constantly tossed from side to side by the storm and waves, so that no one can either walk, or sit, or lie, and the closely packed people in the berths are thereby tumbled over each other, both the sick and the well ~ it will be readily understood that many of these people, none of whom had been prepared for hardships, suffer so terribly from them that they do not survive."

When at last the Delaware River was reached and the City of Brotherly Love hove in sight, where all their miseries were to end, another delay occurred. A health officer visited the ship and, if any persons with infectious diseases were discovered on the ship, it was ordered to remove one mile from the city. As early as 1718, Dr. Thomas Graeme was appointed to visit and report on all incoming vessels. But no reports from him are on record until the year 1738. On September 14, 1738, Governor George Thomas laid before the Board the reports of Dr. Graeme, "setting forth the condition of four ships lately arrived here from Rotterdam and Amsterdam; And it being observed from one of the said reports that were the Passengers on Board the ships Nancy and Friendship allowed to be immediately landed, it might prove dangerous to the health of the Inhabitants of this Province and City, It is Ordered that the Masters of said Ships be taken into Custody for their Contempt of the Governour's Order, signified to them by Thos. Glenworth, pursuant to a Law of this Province, to remove to the Distance of one Mile from this City, and that they shall remain in Custody till they shall give security in the sum of Five Hundred Pounds each, to obey the said Order, and not to land any of their passengers Baggage, or Goods, till the Passengers shall have been viewed and examined, and untill they shall receive a Licence from the Governor for so doing."

The Governor urged at this time that a hospital be erected for sich passengers, but the Assembly refused to act until an epidemic broke out in the city of Philadelphia. Then the Assembly voted to buy Fisher Island, at the junction of the Schuylkill with the Delaware. The Island was bought in 1743 . . . The name of the island was changed to Province Island . . . the erection of an adequate hospital was, however, delayed until the year 1750. . .

A vivid account of the arrival of these passenger ships in the harbor of Philadelphia is given by the Rev. Henry M. Muehlenberg, in a report which he sent to Halle . . . "After much delay one ship after another arrives in the harbor of Philadelphia, when the rough and severe winter is before the door. One or more merchants receive the lists of the freights and the agreement which the emigrants have signed with their own hand in Holland, together with the bills for their travel down the Rhine and the advances of the 'newlanders' for provisions, which they received on the ships on account. . . Then he new arrivals are led in procession to the City Hall and there they must render the oath of allegiance to the king of Great Britain. After that they are brought back to the ship. Then announcements are printed in the newspapers, stating how many of the new arrivals are to be sold. Those who have money are released. Whoever has well-to-do friends seeks a loan from them to pay the passage, but there are only a few who succeed. The ship becomes a market-place. The buyers make their choice among the arrivals and bargain with them for a certain number of years and days. They then take them to the merchant, pay their passage and their other debts and receive from the government authorities a written document, which makes the newcomers their property for a definite period."

  (Ralph Baker Strassburger and William John Hinke, Pennsylvania German Pioneers: A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808 (Norristown, PA, reprinted Springfield, VA: Pennsylvania German Society, 1934; reprint by Genealogical Books in Print, 1992), pp. 418-419).

He was listed as John Nieman a church member in 1764 at Bedminster, Bucks Co., PA (F. Edward Wright, Bucks County Church Records of the 17th and 18th Century).

He and Anna had sons, Nimrod and Conrad Newman (pronounced more like Coonrod Nowman).

Conrad Newman

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